Posts Tagged ‘social media’

TasteLive Participants: How Are You Engaging and Posting to #TTL ?

Top Social Media Resources: MarketingProfs Summer Series

marketingprofs_logo

Many of you who know me and know my story have heard that I’ve been exploring and engaging in social media for just over a year now after entering as a skeptic.  It was around that time that I became intrigued and then submerged myself in learning about how social media could help me to make my dream of helping wineries and small businesses become a reality.  Originally, I thought that traditional public relations and marketing services would be my core offerings.  But now, my business has evolved.  I find that I’m being sought out to help my clients with humanizing their brands and social media mentoring. And my dreams of a successful, fun business have been coming true.

I don’t call myself a social media expert, but mentoring based on my observations, studies and experience is a more accurate description of what I’ve been tasked with by my clients.  This is the first of a series of my top resources to pay attention to as you explore the possibilities in social media for your business or personal brand.

MarketingProfs Social Media Summer Series

This is a stellar line-up of thought leaders in social media.  The series is in progress, but if you purchase a Premium Plus membership, you gain access to all of the archived webinars with materials to play on demand.  I’ve viewed two of the series of nine so far and they are full of the latest research and information on relationship building, creating content, measurement, creating community, using social media for B-to-B marketing, public relations and to drive sales.  I’ve been a MarketingProfs Premium Plus member for several months now and I highly recommend their program to you.

The tactic that has been most helpful to me in navigating and embracing social media is reading about it regularly, attending webinars such as this series and keeping an eye on what’s happening with thought leaders who have successfully built their personal brands as trusted experts in their industries.  Much of the latest I’ve found by following thought leaders on Twitter and Facebook!

Are you already attending the series?  What are your impressions?  A recommended next step is to seek out your favorite presenters in this series on Twitter, Facebook and/or their blogs and watch for their updates.

Winery Resource Alert: The State of Wine Industry Social Media

logoVinTank

More than likely, if you’re reading this post, you have an interest in gaining a detailed understanding of social media platforms and those that are most relevant to the health and happiness of your winery’s business. A group of the industry’s top thought leaders at VinTank, Derek Bromley and Tom Wark have compiled the first whitepaper specifically for the wine industry entitled, “The State of Wine Industry Social Media.”

The paper contains some tech-speak that may look a bit scary at first, but hang in there and read through to the end. These guys are in-the-know, have strong relationships in the wine industry with bloggers, traditional media and developers and seek to help you, the winery principal, to navigate and gain an understanding of the social media landscape. Facebook, Twitter, Wine Blogs, Wine Social Networks, Gary V and Wine Library TV are detailed specifically pertaining to their relevance to wineries and wine retailers.

Paul Mabray and team are eager to receive questions or input on the report and can be reached at: ADDRESS: 1250 Main Street Suite #270 Napa, CA 94559 • PHONE: 800.605.8265 • WEB: vintank.com • EMAIL: info@vintank.com
TWITTER: twitter.com/vintank • FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/14R1mf

Or comment on the Tasting Room blog at pressdemocrat.com http://tastingroom.pressdemocrat.com/default.asp?item=2375378

A special thank you to the VinTank team for mentions of myself, my client Andrew Kamphuis at Vin65 and senior strategist and wine blogger friend, Michael Wangbickler, on their thank you page.

UPDATE (5/12/09)

If you would like to listen to Paul Mabray discuss some of the key findings of the report, check this out http://www.newwineconsumer.com/2009/05/vintank/

Social Media Quick Tips: Do a “Gut Check” Before Posting

I just saw this article as a “retweet” on Twitter from Gabriella Opaz, fellow wine blogger and wine marketing consultant at Catavino.net. (A retweet is when one individual copies a tweet from someone in their network and shares it with their network, according to Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research.)

It’s important. For those who attended the recent Social Media Basics Workshop earlier this month, it reiterates one of the key takeaways of the workshop: the goal of social media interactions for wineries and small businesses is to build relationships. Transparency, authenticity, credibility and being real are all necessary to be successful on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Do it right and a social media presence can continue to build the bond with customers that was established in the tasting room.

Phil Jr., Assistant winemaker at Damiani Wine Cellars

Phil Jr., Assistant winemaker at Damiani Wine Cellars

This is a natural fit for small wineries and their staffs. What I’ve found most appealing about my experiences in local tasting rooms is the good natured, welcoming personalities behind the wine. Upload pictures from events, winemaking tasks, your customers, funny stuff that happens during your day, your staff interacting, etc. to your Facebook public profile and on TwitPic. Keep your customers interested by showcasing your winery’s personality.

Set aside a chunk of time each day to interact and update your status, share pictures and join the conversations that are taking place on these networks. If you’re questioning whether or not to put something out there, do a gut check. Ask yourself, “Is this appropriate? Am I being overly promotional and blatant in pushing my business?” Remember that although social networks welcome a much more casual voice, each post and update adds to the layer that is your personal brand and that personal brand reflects on your winery and business brand. Don’t forget to interact and respond to comments. You know, show that there are faces and real people behind your winery’s brand.

Amy Hoffman and staff of Rooster Hill Vineyards

Amy Hoffman and staff of Rooster Hill Vineyards

Social Media Quick Tips: Navigating Twitter

Twitter Blog Birds

During the recent Social Media Workshop presented to small businesses in Finger Lakes Wine Country, one of the interactive segments involved having attendees who had brought their laptops set up a new Twitter account and profile. I wanted to share a few quick tips on getting started and getting the most out of your Twitter interactions based on my experiences.

Carefully craft your bio

Use key words within your bio that will lead others with like interests or within your industry to find you during a Twitter search. Oftentimes, this bio will be the key factor in whether or not a Twitter user will opt in to follow your tweets. For example, my bio reads “Melissa Dobson PR & Marketing- Wine publicist by day, foodie in-training by night. Lover of the NY locavore/locapour movement & all things social media.” And definitely include your website or blog link.

Poke around

One of the great ways to get started or to enhance your experience on Twitter is by taking some time to look around. Search for a few of your colleagues or thought leaders in your industry and click through the profiles of those people that they’re following. Follow those that are of interest and sometimes those people will follow you back. They’ll be privy to your updates and streams of thought and vice versa. Another nice feature of Twitter is that for those that follow you back, you have the ability to direct message or dm them which works as a private message sent to the person similar to a private instant message. Just be careful to double check before you hit update to be sure that you have a “d ” in front of the recipient’s username in order to be sure that your message remains private.  There’s an envelope icon on each person’s avatar that you can click for a direct message.

You can also use the “Find People” feature that allows you to search and invite people to follow you who you have been in touch with on email platforms such as Gmail and Yahoo mail.

Twhirl and Tweetdeck

I realize that all of the updates and the fast pace of Twitter can be overwhelming at first.  I’m a fan of using desktop platforms to manage Twitter.

Twhirl is a desktop application that pops up on your desktop and will also provide a notification sound when someone either tweets you or includes you in a tweet.  You can customize the features to your liking.

Tweetdeck is another desktop application that allow you to set up customized columns to browse tweets by category, direct messages to you and replies to you from within the last 48 hours.

Each of these takes a few minutes to set up, but I find them to be very helpful in managing Twitter activity.  Check them out and I think you’ll enjoy Twitter more than you thought you would.  Join in a conversation that you’re interested in, click retweet to pass along another user’s tweet when you find something relevant and interesting.  I just set up an appointment to meet with a local winery based on my interactions with the winery’s twitter user.  Social media can definitely benefit you and help you to stand out from the many other wineries in your region if you engage regularly and authentically.

Social Media Quick Tips: Blog Commenting Do’s and Don’ts

As a follow-up to the Social Media Workshop I conducted with Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association last week, I will be offering quick tips on best practices and worst practices in social media engagement.

We discussed the value of commenting on wine blogs to build your personal brand and expertise.  One of the things I advised was to comment in a way that isn’t self-promotional, full of fluffy marketing speak, etc. but rather as a way to continue the conversation that is already going on in the post, to add a new perspective on a topic or to educate.  Of course most blogs allow you to include a hyperlink to your winery’s website or blog so that if a reader wishes to he/she can click on the link to find out more about you.

I forgot to mention that it is not advisable or looked upon favorably to promote your own events or  products directly in the comments section.  Bloggers decide what they feel is relevant in creating the content for their readers.  If you write your own event or product content as a blatant way of using the blog for advertising purposes, the blogger and the blog’s readers are likely to be offended by that.

By all means, don’t let this advice scare you from commenting.  I read recently that fear of attack is one of the reasons most readers lurk and don’t comment on blogs.  Just think it through and be authentic, provide insight, resources, a fresh perspective on topic and you’ll see that your comments will be well received.

Announcing Social Media Basics Seminar for Businesses in Finger Lakes Wine Country

Social Media Logos by Sean McColgan.

Have you and your staff been struggling to understand social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr?  Is exploring this something that is still on your to-do list?  Be on the lookout for an email invitation to an upcoming Social Media Basics seminar for businesses in our local community. In part, the invitation reads:

Dear Finger Lakes Wine Country community,

Please join Morgen McLaughlin, President of Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing and Melissa Dobson, owner of Melissa Dobson PR and Marketing, for a full-day session on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 from 10 AM-3 PM at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel to address the basics of social media, answer your questions and talk through how social media platforms can help you to create connections with your customers and drive sales.  This will be an intimate, interactive session where your questions and input will be welcome.

Our goal is to educate you and your staff on the different social media platforms and help you to determine
immediate next steps to get your program planned, up and running.  Details to come, but among the key topics
we’ll flesh out during the session are:

* What is Facebook, Twitter, Open Wine Consortium, Flickr, YouTube, top wine blogs and why should I spend time there?
* How do I engage in social media in an effective manner and elevate my company’s brand to my target audience?
* Best practices/worst practices.
* Who should be the voice of my business?
* Current business examples-social media.
* Blogs:  should I start one?  What do I need to consider?  What are the advantages of engaging via blog comments?
* Why should I care what someone is having for lunch?  Isn’t that a waste of my time?
* How does all of this discussion help me to sell more wine, room nights, and tickets?

I would love to hear your questions on social media here so that Morgen and I can address them during the session.

Check out this recent report from FOX Business News on how Ford Motor Company is using Twitter and other social media platforms to humanize the Ford brand and interact and connect one on one with people in an effort to engage in valuable conversations with them.

In an exchange on Twitter with social media visionary Rodney Rumford, Scott Monty of Ford Motor Company summed up their philosophy on the advantage of engaging on Twitter, “It allows us to humanize the brand by connecting 1:1 with people, and it publicly demonstrates our commitment to conversation.”

Take note:  this type of conversation and engagement is now expected by customers and prospective customers.  It’s an important part of long-tail marketing efforts.  And I think you’ll find it to be a fun and engaging way to attract like-minded customers and keep in touch with your biggest fans.